Flying Saucer Drive-by

In the USA, July of 1952 remains the most sensational month in a year that also surpassed any other year for the number of high-quality unrestrictedly-publicized “flying saucer” sighting reports. The U.S. government had not yet put a lid on reports from the most credible sorts of witnesses, such as Air Force and airline pilots, all of whom were silenced by mid-1954 or severely punished. A 1967 article, “The Day the Saucers Visited Washington, D.C.,” by Charles W. Corddry of United Press International, recounted the main event of that period, one that stands out even today, more than sixty years later, as being among the most irrefutable evidence ever of the reality of “UFOs” as a powerful alien presence:

After numerous sightings earlier in the year, including a Pan American airliner’s alarmingly close encounter with six 100-foot-diameter glowing discs in the evening of July 14, eight similar UFOs appeared in the skies over the Capitol area at 11:40 p.m. on July 19, 1952.

Corddry highlighted the fact that the significance of the Washington, D.C. sightings is that “…they were among the few in which there seemed to be both radar and eyeball sightings on the same targets… Both witnesses on the ground and military and civilian pilots reported visual sightings.” An Air Force summary said these observers’ descriptions were in general agreement that the objects changed from orange to green to red, that there appeared to be no set formations, and that three objects left trails. One of the UFOs was tracked at 7,000 miles an hour—beyond the capability of any known aircraft of earthly origin.

Because the drive-by occurred over Washington, D.C., President Harry Truman understandably expressed strong interest, as did other government heads around the world, such as Prime Minister Churchill. Although there was no demonstration of weaponry, the medium itself was the message: Even the most powerful government on the planet is completely vulnerable to potential alien attack, an idea made to appear foolish in subsequent cinematic disinformation such as Independence Day. The fact is that the 142nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron were sent up in jet fighter planes to hotly pursue the flying discs, a more rapid and heavily armed response in the name of homeland security than was seen on September 11, 2001.

Despite the disinformation campaign to effectively write it off as a one-of-a-kind natural atmospheric phenomenon, Harry Barnes, who had been the senior controller in the Civil Aeronautics Administration’s Air Route Traffic Control Center said, “My colleagues and I were convinced that something was giving us a return… there was something out there.” And the prolonged presence of the elusive objects was affirmed by witnesses on the ground, in three radar centers, and from aboard the fighter planes. And further visual and radar-based sightings were made over the next ten days. It was as if the saucer pilots’ commander anticipated the dismissal effort and decided to reinforce the statement ten times over.

As Air Force Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, who headed the Air Force’s UFO investigation during the 1951-1953 period said in his book, The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, “No flying saucer report in the history of the UFO ever won more world acclaim than the Washington National sightings.” Yet it is interesting to see that so many people today have either never heard of it or believe it to be part of the “UFO myth” and continue to ask: Are UFOs real?

[See also earlier posts, such as: “Presidential Disclosure: Alien Presence Affirmed” (February, 2010), “Scientific Studies of UFOs” (March, 2012), “Ancient Aliens” (February, 2013), and “Analysis: ‘Aliens in the Skies’” (July, 2013).]


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